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Bridgeport Salon Owner Is Motivated To Keep Shop Going After Shattered Windows, Acts Of Discouragement In The Community

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Bridgeport salon is vandalized after a person armed with a sledgehammer breaks a window, leaving glass everywhere. This is one of many acts that happened to the businesses since opening.

The owner is talking only to CBS 2's Steven Graves, calling the attack traumatizing.

The newly opened, Black-owned House of Melanin Salon in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood prides itself on being a welcoming, safe space.

"I don't even have curtains on my salon because I want people to walk around and walk by and be able to see us in here working."

But four days ago, an hour after closing at eleven, the windows into their world were shattered.

"The situation has been traumatizing not only to me but the stylists who work in my salon."

A witness told owner Brittany Matthews a man used a sledgehammer to shatter windows on the store near 34th and Morgan. That neighbor yelled - likely scaring the crook.

"That's when she came to the salon and looked toward my window. She said her heart just broke into a million pieces."

Chicago police came out, but Matthew's surveillance cameras indoors did not activate.

With glass still on the ground, and this window still boarded up, this owner says she will continue to show up for this neighborhood and try to make a difference -- even feeling unwelcomed at times.

"I was literally overwhelmed with so much hate when we first got the salon here."

She says last summer there were warnings from neighbors a Black salon would fail in the neighborhood. That census data show is only three percent African-American.

Handwritten signs hung nearby with anti-Black lives matter messages and false reports to the city about her license.

"I'm like 'Am I making the right decision?' because I didn't want to put anyone in harm's way."

Matthews, originally from Roseland, also built the space for women empowerment events and bookbag giveaways for kids.

"I just said we're going to use this as motivation to keep going. That's what we did, that's when we started holding our events and the more people started gathering."

While it is not clear if this crime is connected to what she calls hate in the community.

"This is greatness. This was put here for me, and I'll continue to elevate after all of this."

Matthews says nothing was stolen but the window replacement will cost around $3,000. Chicago police say they're still looking for the suspect.

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